My mum took me with my BMX down to my local outdoor velodrome in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, for me to have a go at track riding. The helpers got me on the track and I was away… I didn’t want to come off!
They had a track league on every thursday evening, where anyone could go down and race on the velodrome. My mum and I went back down one thursday with my BMX and raced in the freewheelers event, where I got thrashed by kids 5 years younger than me. However, I LOVED it and wanted to DO this!
I joined Lyme Racing Club as I wanted to go more into track riding and even participate in road riding… I actually joined because I wanted to do downhill mountain biking, just like my uncle, however, I found my own passion and my own sport which I was quite good at. My club encouraged me to get my british cycling license, allowing me to enter regional and national races to gain national points for a national ranking.
Racing Scene – 2009 until 2017
In road and track cycling you have regional races, national races and international races. I mainly competed nationally and internationally, spreading my wings and getting the best competitors in the world. There were different age categories too, depending on how old you are depends on which age category you are in. When I first started racing I was in the under 12’s then I moved up in to under 14’s, under 16’s, juniors and then under 21.
I used to take part in a lot of british cycling training camps and sessions, this is where Iwas able to learn all my bike skills and racing tactics to make me the best able I could be. However, this couldn’t have been possible without a very important figure in my cycling pathway who was known as TIM BUCKLE. Tim wasn’t a normal british cycling coach, he was incredibly enthusiastic THE BEST. A lot of people wouldn’t understand, unless you encountered his training sessions because they just weren’t normal…
“You have all the tools in the tool box, you just need to use them”- Tim Buckle.
This is the quote Tim said to me just after I raced a criterium race in the North West Youth Tour at Preston, whilst I was stuffing my face with Jelly Babies, because this circuit suited me down to the ground. Pan flat… Tight bends… what more could I ask for? The race had my name all over it! There was a left hand hairpin 200m before the finish line. Tail wind straight just before hand and a head wind finish. PERFECT! I was leading down the back straight and this was an ideal time for me to attack, take the corner and take the win because I was one of the best “corners” in that bunch that day, probably the best. However, I didn’t “use my tools” or my head and I only got top 10 that day, when Iknow I could have won.
“BE BRAVE, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, ATTACK.”
This cost me a spot in the British Cycling Team, which was my goal.
To succeed in the cycling world, yes, you have to be an amazing rider .However, you need to have sponsorship and great support behind you because you can’t do it alone. I had this with a couple of teams. My first ever team being Shutt Velo Rapide and then moving on the Bike Pure sponsored by Greg Lemonde. Being with these teams got me racing on television, against the biggest cycling names in the world and within Europe.
EUROPEAN RACING SCENE – was a whole new ball game. Tactics. Riders. Language. Everything was a whole new world compared to the british racing scene, but it was so much more interesting and exciting, from the riders being more aggressive, to the tracks having about 1000 cobbles. The game level stepped up, which meant your riding level stepped up. I competed in the European Youth & Junior Tour of Assen, this was a massive completion in Holland where all european countries came to compete, however, you also got riders from Australia and America too. I raced in Malta also.
I sacrificed a lot of my social life and school work to ensure I was doing my full training schedule so I was able to produce my results in racing. Training was hard. There were a lot of times where I really struggled and then times where I loved it… If I could use my racing as training, I would probably still be competing in my cycling. However, training takes a lot of dedication, hard work and persistence for you to get the results you want. Personally, I didn’t always do all my training because I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ or it was” too cold” outside. However, when I didn’t train my results in my racing went down and then I was down. But when I trained hard, my race results were sky high. I know it can be hard, especially when your friends are begging you to come out with them to go shopping at the weekend or go the cinema after school, and I got bullied quite a lot for this. However, it was my passion and love for the sport that didn’t just let thise ‘friends’ take over my life.
No Pain, No Gain.